Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Fun and games with mounts and frames

watercolours & mixed media ready for #HertsOpenStudios
© Teresa Newham

If it's August, it's time to get ready for #HertsOpenStudios - but this year it's been less than straightforward!  It started with the mounts. I checked, checked and checked again that I'd measured the apertures correctly - but some were out; and why did I ever think that waving a ruler in the general direction of a frame (or two) to determine the outer dimensions of the mount would be enough? It's fiddly to shave off that extra bit you don't need, especially if it's just 5mm each side; and if a mount is too short for the frame it simply won't work! Note to self: 16 x 12 inches is NOT the same as 40 x 30 cm, no matter what anyone says.

framing on the dining room table
© Teresa Newham

I took all this as a challenge and started problem-solving (problems entirely of my own making, you notice). As one of the frames I intended to use was now unsuitable, I looked for something else to unframe instead, wrapping it to sell as a mounted piece in the process. I tend not to throw undamaged mounts away - you never know when you might need to source a spare (see above).  At one point my work was popping in and out of mounts and frames like a huge game of musical chairs.

gotta love that tab driver!
© Teresa Newham

Talking of self-inflicted difficulties, can anyone tell me why I'd ever thought that mounting tape would be a substitute for professional backing tape?  Did you know that mounting tape is virtually impossible to get off the back of a frame without gumming up your fingers, scissors and any other implement you may be trying to scrape it off with?  Unfortunately this particular frame was the 16 x 12 inch mentioned earlier.  But I only found that out when I tried to insert the new mount . . .

framed prints & mini watercolours
© Teresa Newham

The fun continued when I took delivery of some frames from a popular home retailer: they arrived inadequately wrapped, half of them with the glass smashed, with nothing on the outside of the box to suggest the contents were fragile or contained glass. And when the store arranged to send replacements, only one turned up - but at least I got to talk to their lovely customer services team again. It was like chatting to old friends!

not what you want to see when you open the box!
© Teresa Newham

Another thing: is it just me, or is there an unspoken rule that the labels you print for the back of your picture will refuse to stick, curling at the edges prior to coming away completely, while unwanted labels already fixed to the back of a picture will remain firmly attached to it no matter how hard you try to remove them? Oh, and I recommend putting the correct name of the piece on said label, especially if that name is written on the front of the work. Doh!

a painting & some photos - something for everyone!
© Teresa Newham

Of course, it hasn't been all gloom and doom - I got to use my favourite studio gadget, the tab driver. Most of what I ordered has been fine, and I love seeing the work framed up - it gains an extra dimension somehow.   Now I have to decide how to display it all!

#HertsOpenStudios runs from 9th September - 1st October.  Take a look at the full brochure here on the HVA website.  I'll be sharing my studio again this year with Sue Wookey - full details on the side panel of this blog.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

A walk in the park

January frosts
© Teresa Newham

#HertsOpenStudios is less than four weeks away, and I should be in a frenzy of mounting and framing the various pieces I've made over the last twelve months, ready to exhibit.  Instead, I've been trawling through old photos and collating them for a piece I've called All the year round in Rothamsted Park.

Spring bulbs
© Teresa Newham

The idea began in September 2013, when I found myself wandering through the sun-dappled park at nine in the morning - a time when I would have normally been on the train to work.  Revelling in my newly-retired freedom, I began taking photos in the park whenever I had a spare few minutes.

trees in full Summer
© Teresa Newham

I soon discovered that the park has a regular rhythm of its own - as well as the changing seasons, the view is determined by the time of day - you can be elbow to elbow with joggers and dog walkers one minute, and disconcertingly all on your own the next - at least, it seems that way until the next person appears round the bend or at the top of the hill!

fallen leaves in Autumn
© Teresa Newham

Over the last few years, Rothamsted Park has been the source of several photos for the calendars I make as Christmas presents, various sketches, and one watercolour, which comes close to saying what I felt about the park that September morning without in any way excluding the possibility of making more paintings, perhaps of the park at a different time of year.

mysterious mist
© Teresa Newham

I've enjoyed putting together this montage of the park in all its glory all the year round, and I hope that visitors to my studio will enjoy it, too.  In the meantime, I have work to do.  I've just given myself something extra to frame, after all!

All the year round in Rothamsted Park
© Teresa Newham

#HertsOpenStudios runs from Saturday 9th September - Sunday 1st October 2017.  Full details of participating artists and studio opening times can be found here.